Tourism office makes ‘fine mess’ getting Stan Laurel birthplace wrong

| Posted in Funny News |


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The leaflet says: “Bet you didn’t know that Bishop Auckland was the birthplace of Arthur Stanley Jefferson, better known as Stan Laurel.”

Stan has a bronze statue in Bishop Auckland town centre celebrating the fact he lived there in early life after leaving Ulverston as a child, where he had been born in 1890. Stan, who became famous as one half of comedy double act Laurel and Hardy with Oliver Hardy, moved to America in 1910.

A copy of Stan’s birth certificate proving his Ulverston heritage is displayed in the Laurel and Hardy Museum.

Craig Wilson, Visit County Durham marketing manager, said it was an honest mistake, and added: “It seems that urban myth has perpetuated an error in the Bishop Auckland town visitor map.

“Stan Laurel was baptised at St Peter’s Church and schooled at King James Grammar in Bishop Auckland.

“His parents also ran the local theatre, but he was of course born in Ulverston.

“I guess Bishop Auckland is as proud of its connections with Stan as Ulverston is passionate about it being his birthplace.

“We’re obviously both trying to lay claim to some of the Laurel and Hardy magic. Hopefully this will allow us to make it clearer about Stan’s early years and allow both Ulverston and Bishop Auckland to share some of Stan’s limelight.”

Mark Greenhow, museum manager and grandson of museum founder Bill Cubin, said:

“Before anyone had really bothered to prove it, everyone presumed he was born in the North East.

“My granddad, when he was mayor in the early 70s, got a copy of the birth certificate in 1973 to finally prove he was born in Ulverston.”

The Stan Laurel Inn, in Ulverston, opened in its present form in 1976 to much publicity due to it bearing the comedian’s name.

Landlord Paul Dewar said: “It is misleading for all the people up there. We also have a copy of the birth certificate, albeit a photocopy, clearly saying Ulverston.”

Phil Ruston, Grand Sheik of the West Bromwich tent of the Sons of the Desert Laurel and Hardy fan club, said: “It’s not something to take offence to, but when it’s something major like 50,000 copies I suppose it does need clearing up.”

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